Show Stopping 71 Torino GT Goes Racing
I think Ford did it right in 1970 with the redesigned Torino GT Fastback, and that’s saying something because I am a Chevy guy. In fact it won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year so a lot of people thought Ford was on the right track as well. This was the year the 351 Cleveland engine made it’s way into the Torino along with several other updated engine options including the 429 Thunder Jet, Cobra Jet and the Super Cobra Jet. The car pictured here however has a 532ci mill and 730 horsepower though, nearly twice what a the full boogie 429 SCJ was rated at the time.
This show stopper was purchased by Danny McRae in 1988 and made the rounds at many local car shows through the years before he was sick of the show scene and had a choice to make, sell it or race it. He chose keep it and go racing and had the car fitted with a cage and other assorted upgrades including a Detriot Locker with 4.30 gears.
Danny told me the poor economy delayed the project about two years since the engine has been finished, waiting installation and finishing touches. I met him recently at a test session while he was making shakedown runs along with friend and crew chief Troy Gotschall. Danny made a couple of short runs to get used to it and check things out, then later that night got his first chance at using a trans brake. McRae has raced assorted cars for years but prior to this has always been a stick shift man so the new procedure took some adjusting too. The first good launch broke the spring perches and ruined the driveshaft.
After the repairs to the rear housing and a new driveshaft McRae was back out for the Autoway Chevrolet Heads Up Madness running in the RMP Automotive 6.50 Pure Street class at Sunshine Dragstrip in September where he lost in the first round to Jim Floyd. Future plans for the car include racing locally in various outlaw events and Open Comp at NMCA.